What exactly is hyaluronic acid?
To the less skin-savvy, hyaluronic acid may sound like a scary chemical. But in reality, it holds the key to plump, hydrated skin. This acid isn’t technically what you’d associate with an ‘acid’. It isn’t harsh, abrasive or stripping. It is found naturally in our skin cells to help them maintain optimal moisture levels. However, with age and environmental aggressors, the levels of hyaluronic in your skin diminish over time. Here’s where skincare with hyaluronic acid (or HA) comes in. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 600 to 1000 times its weight in water. Crazy, right?
What does it do?
Let’s quickly review the state of your skin. Is it dry? Is it tight and stretchy? Is it itchy? Do you have fine lines and wrinkles? If you answered yes to any of these, hyaluronic acid will do wonders for you. This ingredient is a humectant – a substance that pulls in water from the environment and into your skin. Not only this – to avoid ‘drowning’ your cells in water, this genius ingredient takes water from saturated (read, super plump & hydrated) cells and lends it to the drier, needier regions of your skin.
Few benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin!
If you aren’t already lapping up the benefits hyaluronic has to offer, you should start ASAP! Here’s why.
Hyaluronic acid provides intense moisturization that helps skin regenerate faster. Hydration is a key factor in skin health. When skin is hydrated, lines and wrinkles appear softer and less prominent, making this a great ingredient for ageing skin. It gives a glowing, youthful look to the skin. It also boosts collagen production which makes the skin plump and bouncy, diminishing signs of ageing. To boost these anti-ageing benefits, pair your hyaluronic with retinol for a power-packed duo.
Gives you plump, dewy skin
If you want skin that glows from the inside out, hyaluronic acid should definitely be on your list! This acid holds up to 1000 times its own weight in water, meaning your skin will be super hydrated and plump. And we all know hydrated skin is healthy, glowing skin!
Heals and soothes skin
Since this ingredient is found in our bodies, we are naturally compatible with it. The skin accepts it readily. Hyaluronic acid has been proven to play a key role in tissue regeneration, skin cell turnover and skin repair. Including it in your skincare routine can have a positive effect on scars, hyperpigmentation, inflammation and other skin conditions.
Great for all skin types
Hyaluronic acid for skin is gentle. It is well-tolerated and works great on ALL skin types, even oily skin! People usually confuse oily skin with hydrated skin –even oily skin can be dehydrated and in need of a good dose of hydration. For oily skin, combine your hyaluronic acid serum with niacinamide or salicylic acid to regulate sebum production.
When skin is dehydrated, it may become overly oily to compensate for the lack of moisture. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Hyaluronic acid hydrates and regulates moisture balance in the skin, thus preventing dehydration – and in turn, preventing breakouts. Pair it with azelaic acid if reducing and treating acne is your aim.
Strengthens skin barrier
The skin’s barrier is the body’s first line of defence against any external aggressor. When skin is unhealthy, this barrier gets compromised, inhibiting the body from defending itself. Hyaluronic acid supports the skin’s natural barrier by keeping the skin hydrated and balanced. It is also packed with antioxidant properties that protect the skin against free radical damage. Try this with vitamin C for better free radical protection.
Chances are, your current skincare products might already have a form of hyaluronic acid present, as all skin types tolerate this ingredient exceptionally well. It goes by a few other names, so look out for these variants:
- Sodium hyaluronate
The right way to use hyaluronic acid in skincare
Hyaluronic acid is best delivered in the form of a serum or essence, as these absorb quickly and more efficiently than heavier formulations like moisturizers. Actives like hyaluronic acid have a watery consistency that the skin would just soak up. It is important to apply hyaluronic acid to a damp face, rather than a dry face – as it can immediately start hydrating your skin. An important thing to remember is that you need to layer hyaluronic acid with a moisturizer so that the hydration is sealed in.
Remember, regular exfoliation is the key to getting the most out of actives. All your skincare products will be absorbed better if your skin is exfoliated - meaning, free of dirt and dead skin cells. Hyaluronic acid pairs well with almost all actives as it is gentle and hydrating. You can exfoliate with an AHA like glycolic acid or a BHA like salicylic acid. Avoid harsh, physical scrubs as they can irritate your skin, causing you to break out.